Tag Archives: graduate migration

Moving through history

The development of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the way that it will use measure of graduate employment as a metric to judge institutions makes it all the more important that we get a real grip on how the graduate labour market works.

Graduate migration – see my most recent piece for the latest data – is a phenomenon that has subtle but profound effects on the way we can and should think about graduate employment.

To help understand the migration groups, here is a graphic developed by my excellent colleague Ellen Logan.

migration patterns

Let’s revisit this year’s migration patterns.

leavers etc
Employment groups for UK domiciled graduates from 2013/14

It is now a slightly alarming 11 years since I first conducted an analysis of this kind, so let’s have a look at the data from graduates from 2002/3.

2003 migration patterns
Employment groups for graduates from 2002/3

There are some differences – most notably, Loyals have increased for all regions except London (and, interestingly, Northern Ireland), Incomers are also up in most places, and Stayers are down, quite a bit, in some places (especially Scotland).

But the basic patterns have not moved in over a decade. We may find that, in the future, regions retain slightly fewer people who moved to the area to study, but more people will not move far to study or work but these patterns are what graduates do to find work, and we can assume that this will continue. .

This shows that graduates are not as mobile as a lot of thinking has them and that many can’t or won’t move far or to locations that they do not have a connection with for work. There are practical implications – most graduates who go to work in London, for example, are either originally from the region or studied there. And the same effect is intensified for every labour market outside London.

If you’re a recruiter, this ought to make you think about how you source your talent. If you recruit in Leeds, your new recruits will largely have lived or studied nearby. If you a London-based recruiter with a diversity agenda, even if you see yourself as attracting talent from all over the country, in reality many of those attracted to your offer will have existing ties to the capital, with  implications for your ability to recruit BME graduates and graduates from less affluent backgrounds.

If we are to have metrics based on salary, therefore, we have to understand that they are at least to some degree a measure of where an institution is sited and where they draw their graduates from.

Much has been made of the IFS finding that a group of institutions have graduates who earn under the national average for all workers; anyone familiar with the graduate labour market can probably have a good stab at the identities of those institutions, predominantly universities in less affluent parts of the country, serving labour markets with low wages. We should not allow a situation to develop where institutions with a valuable function in developing local economies feel incentives to send their talented graduates outside those economies to ensure metrics are met.

For institutions, it makes it clear that you will need to be absolutely on point about your local labour markets and to understand where your student cohort comes from. There’s a lot more to understand about how and why graduates move to find work, and what this means for the UK. Is it right to think of the ‘UK graduate labour market’ at all as anything but an abstract, or is it really a series of overlapping markets with their own character and needs? And, crucially, how do we ensure that a framework develops that does not effectively penalise universities for not being near London? We have work to do.





Graduate migration – who stayed and who left in 2015

This is an unabridged version of my piece on graduate migration that appeared in the most recent edition of Graduate Market Trends.

Continue reading Graduate migration – who stayed and who left in 2015

Coast to Coast – graduate migration in the UK

The work I have recently published on graduate migration has got quite a reception.

It’s actually meant to be the first part of a much more in-depth study of regional labour markets, but I decided to follow up two earlier pieces I wrote, from 2008 and from 2005.

The graph here is, if you like, an out-take – it’s the actual number of graduates falling into each of the four groups, Loyals, Stayers, Returners and Incomers, for each region. For reference, here are the categories

  1. Regional Loyals: These are graduates who are domiciled in a region, went to study in the region, and remained to work in that region.
  1. Regional Returners: These are graduates domiciled in a region, who go elsewhere to study, and then return to their home region to work.
  1. Regional Stayers: These are graduates who travel away from their home region to study, and then stay in that study region to work.
  1. Regional Incomers: These are graduates who go to work in a region in which they neither studied nor were domiciled.
migration numbers
Migration categories for first degree graduates from 2012/13 who were of known domicile and known location of employment after six months.

The North West and Scotland both had more Loyals than London, but the London Incomers are the largest single category in the whole study – more graduates entered London, having had no prior domicile or study there, than were working in most parts of the country – the North West, West Midlands and South East excepted. London’s pull is intense.

There’s a lot more work to potentially be done here – I am considering redoing it just for ‘graduate’ jobs, although I’m not sure if that would be as valuable as it might initially appear. Is it worth attracting graduates out of London to temporarily take lower-skilled jobs in the hope/expectation that they will convert to professional employment? If that pool of skilled labour isn’t present in a region, will that hamper efforts to grow the number of skilled jobs locally? Interesting questions. I’ll keep digging for answers.


UniverCities and graduate retention

The UniverCities report from the City Growth Commission that came out this week has a number of interesting things to say about graduate retention and migration.

(The authors kindly asked for my views and I am credited in the report).

Continue reading UniverCities and graduate retention